- File Size: 1360 KB
- Print Length: 244 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 2, 2013)
- Publication Date: October 2, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00FNWQJOQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,514 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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“Vaclav Smil keeps turning out amazing books. Making the Modern World, I just finished, and it’s pretty fantastic.” (Interview with Bill Gates, 22 January 2014)
“This makes the book particularly suitable for students, and not just those in obviously-related disciplines: it’s a good example of fact-based reasoning, one material we can always use more of.” (Chemistry & Industry, 1 January 2014)
From the Back Cover
How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization.
Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficient production processes and the highest practical rates of recycling may not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that would be high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generated by continuing population growth and rising standards of living. This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potential for substantial dematerialization of modern economies.
Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization considers the principal materials used throughout history, from wood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics, and silicon, describing their extraction and production as well as their dominant applications. The evolving productivities of material extraction, processing, synthesis, finishing, and distribution, and the energy costs and environmental impact of rising material consumption are examined in detail. The book concludes with an outlook for the future, discussing the prospects for dematerialization and potential constraints on materials.
This interdisciplinary text will provide useful perspectives for readers with backgrounds including resource economics, environmental studies, energy analysis, mineral geology, industrial organization, manufacturing, and material science.
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Smil carefully documents their ungainly mass as dependent on the price of oil, like a biologist charting the size of pigeons and the acorn crop they feed on. This part of the story leaves Smil crestfallen. This disappointment after what can be done by de-materialization. In a later chapter Smil disagrees with our perennial mongers of shortages. “We are soon to run out of …..” our real dilemma is more complicated for our end will not come from exhaustion. We can mine scrap, dig deeper, invent substitutes. We suffer self inflicted damage; struggle to make ourselves fat and unhappy. Reading his rebuttals to those predicting exhausting oil, gas, phosphate, copper etc. I found another worry; running out of Vaclav Smil. Born in 1948 how many more years of wisdom can we expect?
This book is not perfect, Smil is a carrier of a modern sickness, the over use of initials. This leaves the reader out in a wilderness; what does this mean? How can the author be proud of switching to code when he could remain with well understood English?
Top international reviews
The writing is clear. His research is thorough. His conclusions are unbiased. If you are looking for a non-ideological approach to the science behind climate change, read Smil.
This book is specifically on the energy cost of the materials that make up our civilization. Unsurprisingly, steel and cement production consumes an immense amount of energy and produces an immense amount of carbon. He provides the raw numbers on which he bases his conclusions. If you want to be informed about climate change, his books are a good place to start.